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jesuit, was burnt at the stake ; and laments his execution as a cruel and odions act. He was strangled before he was burnt. He represents Louis XVth as
“ exhibiting during eleven or twelve years after his marriage a pattern of conjugal felicity,” and states, that in contrast to the licentious manner in which Louis the XIVth spent his youth, " that his successor did not till the afternoon and evening of his life sink into the arins of the Marchioness de Pompadour and of the Countess du Barry
Does Sir N, mean to say, that Louis XVth did not disgrace himself with intrigue till late in life? If so, we are sorry to contradict Sir Nathaniel, but must beg leave to remind him of the names of the two sisters, Mad. de Mailly and Mad. de Vintrimille; with the first of whom that King was acquainted as early as 1732 (hie married in 1726) while he was, as Richelieu
expresses it, yet sauvage, délicat et dévot; and we must re. commend it to our author to re-peruse the 5th volume of that minister's memoirs.
These however are very venial errors, and had Sir William Wraxall only trespassed against accuracy and probability, we could have been contented to have continued a tone of banter, But heavier charges lie at his door; and we are sure the public will join with us in raising the voice of indignation against him for the outrageous and unnecessary indecency, which in every shape and character, pervades, not only this, but most of his publications, We suggested to him as a title, “ A continuation of the new Atalantis," and by our faith as dispensers of literary justice, he would not have done discredit to it.' He not only alludes, or rather expatiates upon, those facts, which modesty would blush to record, did not history oblige her narrator to observe them for the sake of truth, but goes out of his road to introduce anec dotes that afford neither explanation, por amusement, por any other sentiment than pure disgrist In the freedom of mised conversation, when wine has loosened the reins of the imagination, there may be some palliation, though little enough even then, for a loose and unguarded expression. But for a man, in the calm and cool retirement of his study, while he has leisure not only to balance sentences, but to weigh the purport of every word, deliberately to commit to paper that which cannot fail to put modesty to the blush, is an offence that deserves a severer punishment than we can inflict by the censures of a literary tribunal. But for such delinquencies, his book might have afforded considerable amusement to those who are fond of light and desula tory reading; for with all its faults, we will allow it ihe merit of being highly entertaining ; but, as it is, it is fit for no class
of readers. To the man of accuracy and research in matters of history it is utterly contemptible ; to the other sex and the youth of our own, it is a sealed book on account of its gross indecencies.
We stated in our account of the life of Sir William, that he represented bimself, " as having been admitted on the credit of some of his publications,” into the society of the “ Gens de lettres, or the blue stocking club," as he is pleased to translate it, during the day of Mrs. Montague and Dr. Johnson. Upon the whole, however, if we may judge from the spleen and acri mony with which he speaks of the principal members of that coterie, he was not very well pleased with his reception. He attributes the fame of Mrs. Montague to her excellent dinners, rather than her wit: and supposes that her guests “ admired more the splendor of her fortune than the lustre of her talents.' To the memory of Dr. Johnson he gives no quarter, and beards the dead lion with no little courage.
“ I will freely confess, that his rugged exterior and garb, his uncouth gestures, his convolutions and distortions, when added to the rude or dogmatical manner in which he delivered his opinions and decisions on every point, rendered him so disagreeable in cam. pany and oppressive in conversation, that all the superiority of his talents could not make full amends, in my estimation, for these de, fects." Vol. i. p. 143,
Now we could not conceive what had raised the puny indignation of Sir W. Wrasall against this great potentate in liter. rature, till the following sentence explained the mystery.
“ Those whom he could not always vanquish by the force of his intellect, by the depth and range of his arguments, and by the compass of his gigantic faculties, he silenced by rudeness: and I have myself (prodigious !) more than once stood in the predicament I here describe." Vol. 1. p. 144.
So here is the truth of the matter: our accomplished baronet had ventured to intermeddle in some argument maintained by Johnson, and having advanced something, as is his custom, not quite consistent with accuracy or decency; that surly watch-dog over the cause of truth and morality, has seized the intruder, and shook him somewbạt ronghly for his interference. Hinc illæ lacryme. Sir Nathaniel has endeavoured to revenge himself by the following morsel of criticism.
“Even as a biographer, Johnson, however masterly, profound, and acute, has always appeared to me to have evinced great inaccuracy and neglect.' I do not mean to speak of his political par. tialities
, but I allude to errors which could only have arisen from An ignorance of facts, with which he might and ought to have been
acquainted. What shall we say when we find him telling us, that Stepney the poet was invited into public life by the Duke of Dor-' set? The event in question must have taken place about 1683, towards the end of Charles the Second's reign. But the creation of the dukedom of Dorset only originated under George I. 1720. In like manner he informs us that Prior published about 1706,
a volume of poems with the encomiastic character of his patron the Duke of Dorset." No doubt he meaut to speak of Charles Earl of Dorset, who died nearly at that time.”
We grant to Sir Nathaniel that he is certainly right. Jolinson did call Stepney and Prior's patron a Duke when he was a simple Earl. And we grant him as certainly ifiat a biographer should not be guilty of inaccuracy and neglect. It is highly disgraceful to commit "errors from an ignorance of facts, with which he might and ought to be acquainted.”-“ Chronological errors," as Sir Nathaniel afterwards with great justice observes, ( are not to be treated as of little moment." And now let us earnestly solicit the attention of our readers to the following story, told by Sir Nathaniel, of another Duke of Dorset.
« The late Duke of Dorset told me, that being present at the ceremony of investing the present Marquess of Camden with the Garter, where the Dukė assisted as a knight companion of the Order: His Majesty, who felt no little unwillingness to confer it on ħin, betrayed a considerable degree of ill humour in his countenance and manner. However, as he knew that it must be performed, Mr. Pitt having pertinaciously insisted on it, the king took the riband in his hand, and turning to the Duke, before the new knight approached, asked of him if he knew Lord Camden's christian name. The Duke, after inquiring, informed him that it was John Jefferies, What! what ! replied the king, John-Jefferies! the first Knight of the Garter that ever was called John Jefferies.'" "Vol. 1. p. 122.
Now the riband which was thus conferred on the Marquess of Camden, was vacated by the death of this very Duke of Dor set, who was present at the ceremony, assisted as a knight companion, infornied the king of his successor's name, and who afterwards communicated the anecdote to Sir Nathaniel. We leave the reader to apply to him his own censure on biographers, who are guilty of 6 inaccuracy and neglect, and who commit errors from an ignorance of facts with which they might and ought to be acquainted,'
Upon the delicate subject that has brought Sir Nathaniel within the fangs of the law, we will be silent: as my Lord Ellenborough will no doubt comment upon it with more force and better effect than we are capable of doing. We will only remark, that over the death of the first Princess of Wirtemberg,
that deep and impenetrable veil described by Sir N. is not drawn. She was neither murdered by her husband, or by Catharine ; but actually died in the castle of Lhode, as that Empress stated, of an fremorrhage. Why could not the prurient curiosity of our memorialist be satisfied with this statement; and conclude that there might have been motives of prudence and propriety, that forbade a further disclosure? When the fear of giving pain or wounding delicacy, induces us to pass in silence over the secret sorrows of private families, why should we show less tenderness for those to whom something more than coinmon respect is due, even our allegiance. And here we dismiss the first part.
In entering on the discussion of the second part, we would remind our readers, that although we have spoken of the credulity and inaccuracy of our author, we have never impeached his fidelity, nor accused him of intentionally saying the thing tliat is not. Now for this reason, the materials of his second part are much superior to those of the first. For in his former volume, he bas only related what he has heard : and no' story seems to have been too absurd for his belief. But the latter, consisting principally of what he himself witnessed in Parliament between 1780 and 1784, contains some new matter and lively anecdote. And though the veterans in public life may find many of his stories stale and tedious, yet to those who are too young to recollect the
days of Lord North, we think that they will afford both information and amusement.
To his observations on what he heard and saw in Parliament, our Baronet has prefixed the characters of the principal political leaders of the day: and these we esteem by far the best part of his work. But they are unfortunately written in such a loose, prolix, wordy style, that it is impossible for us to transcribe the whole of any one of them. Will it be believed that he has diffused the character of Fox over a space of thirteen pages, after quotįng and praising the following terse and spirited sketch, by the late Mr. Boothby.
“ Charles," observed he, " is unquestionably a man of the first rațe talents ; but so deficient in judgment as never to have succeeded in any object during his whole life. He loved only three things: women, play, and politics. . Yet at no period did he ever form a creditable connexion with a woman. He lost his whole fortune at the gaming table; and, with the exception of about cleven months, has always remained in opposition.'* Vol. ii. p. 11,
The summary of his character is thus given by Sir William.
* Fox conversed in French, nearly with the same purity and facility as (that) he did in English: writing in that language not Jess correctly, nor with less elegance, A man of his high" birth
and connexions, possessing qualifications so rare, independant of his parliamentary talents, seemed to be pointed out by nature for the superintendance of the foreign department of state Those persons who anticipated the fall of Lord North's administration, already imagined that they beheld Mr. Fox in that situation, for which talent and education had evidently designed him. Yet after contemplating the portrait which I have here sketched, and which, I imagine, even his greatest admirers will admit, to do him justice, it is for impartial posterity to determine, whether, on full examination of his merits and defects, George the Third may be consi, dered as most deserving of approbation or blame, in ever having, at any period of his reign, voluntarily called Mr. Fox to liis coun, cils. If energy of mind, enlargement of views, firmness of character, amenity of manners, acquaintance with foreign courts and languages, facility in conducting business, and prodigious intel lectual powers, combining eloquence, application, as well as discernnent;-if these endowments are considered as forming an incontestible claiin to public employment, unsustained by moral qualities or by property, we must condemn the sentence of exclusion passed upon
- he went on refining, And thought of convincing while they thought of dining," Our readers will here observe a very strong exemplification of our author's yerbosity, and of his constant practice of using two words where one would answer every purpose, "delighted and